The most humungous Himalayan caterpillar I have ever set my eyes on, resides right at my door step.

The mouth of an Himalayan caterpillar up close with cobra-like markings

To say I am surprised by the size and length of this caterpillar is an understatement. It’s about the same length as a pen and thrice as thick. Appearance wise, it would do very well in a creepy sci-fi movie.

I was pottering around my flowers beds when I noticed some movement.  What I mistook for a rather limp looking piece of a bamboo trellis, turned out to be the fattest and longest caterpillar I have ever set my eyes on. It was gnawing away at a leaf and would freeze if I went up too close. After a few fuzzy takes and some patience,  I caught it make a slow move.

Caterpillar hanging upside down whilst feeding on a leaf
Caterpillar hanging upside down whilst feeding on a leaf.

Much to my disappointment, it had disappeared the next morning. It might have camouflaged itself a little better after its encounter with a giant creature -meaning me! I would have loved the chance to document it spin itself into a silky cocoon and watch the complete metamorphosis. I was told by Peter Smetacek, India’s leading lepidopterist, that this one will turn into a spectacular large Hawk-moth.

Do comment.

Watch out for my video. With the local internet speeds pretty much as slow as my caterpillar, it will reach you in a week or two.

Here it is, as promised:

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Caterpillar to butterflies/moths.

#Caterpillars #HimalayanMoths #IndianButterfliesAndMoths #Ranikhet #HawkMoths #FloraAndFaunaOfUttarakhand #NaturalWonders #AnimalBehaviour #Insects #cocoons

Hippotion Celerio Hawk-Moth. Nocturnal Visitor In My Garden

At sundown a few evenings ago, I saw what I thought were two bees around my flower pots. They were still there an hour later. On taking a closer look I realised there were moths, though quite different from the hawk moth that I was familiar with. I took the camera out in time to get a few shots before nightfall. It wasn’t easy as these moths were flitting around like they couldn’t make up their minds; barely hovering over a flower for a second or so.  Peter Smetacek, a lepidopterist-friend, helped me id the moths. Peter is one of India’s experts when it comes to butterflies and moths and has got a whole lot of us “infected” as he says, with his passion for the flutterby.

The  Hippotion  Celerio is also called the Vine hawk moth or Silver striped Hawk moth. With summer flowers blooming, I hope I get to see more of the Sphingidae family.

Read more about Hawk Moths and Peter via Woodstock School:

#Hippotion_celerio _or _Vine_Hawk_Moth
#Hippotion_celerio _or _Vine_Hawk_Moth
#Hippotion_celerio _or _Vine_Hawk_Moth
Also known as Silver-striped Hawk-moth
#Hippotion_celerio _or _Vine_Hawk_Moth
Hovering for a drink

Related article on the Vine moth via wiki:.

Here's another  Hawk moth
Here’s another  Hawk moth
Are moths attracted to shades of pink and purple?